Knowing what will be discussed for each step of NA will help you feel more prepared to attend meetings.
List of NA Meeting Topics by Step
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Twelve-Step fellowships, such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), are the most widely accessible recovery resources in the U.S. NA is a drug addiction support group adapted from Alcoholics Anonymous, based on the 12 Steps of recovery.1 NA has only one mission: to provide a context where addicted individuals can help one another stop using drugs and find a new way to live.2 The only requirement for NA membership is a “desire to stop using drugs.”3
In this article:
The 12 Steps of NA
The 12 Steps of NA differ from those of AA in that each step begins with “We” instead of “I.” This emphasizes that program members recover together and highlights the importance of community. When you attend an NA meeting and begin working the steps, you will make your way through each of the 12 steps at your own pace. There is no predetermined schedule or time limit, so it’s important that you take your time and only move on when you are comfortable doing so. It may also be beneficial to find a sponsor who can help guide you through the challenges of these steps.
Step 1: We Admitted That We Were Powerless over Our Addiction, That Our Lives Had Become Unmanageable
In this step, you will look at how your life has been adversely affected by your substance addiction. Step 1 helps you to overcome your denial so you can then get help. Accepting your problem is the first step.2
Step 1 meeting topics:2
Step 2: We Came to Believe That a Power Greater Than Ourselves Could Restore Us to Sanity
This step is about having faith in a Higher Power and facing reality. In this step, you understand that your situation is not hopeless and begin to cultivate a relationship with a power greater than yourself by examining the concept of a Higher Power.2 Contrary to popular belief, your Higher Power does not have to be a spiritual or religious figure; it can be anything you believe in, such as the universe, nature, and science.
Step 2 meeting topics:2
- Higher Power
Step 3: We Made a Decision to Turn Our Will And Our Lives Over to the Care of God As We Understood Him
Step 3 involves cultivating a relationship with a Higher Power and then subordinating the human will to a stronger will. This step requires a decision to turn your will over rather than self-managing your life.2
Step 3 meeting topics:2
- Making different decisions
Step 4: We Made a Fearless and Searching Moral Inventory of Ourselves
Step 4 involves personal housecleaning via a written inventory of your past. You will look at people, places, things, and institutions that are a source of anger and resentment. The purpose of the fourth step is to identify character defects or negative traits that lead to actions that cause pain and suffering. Once identified and confronted, the past can be released.2
Step 4 meeting topics:2
- Facing fear
Step 5: We Admitted to God, to Ourselves, and to Another Human Being the Exact Nature of Our Wrongs
Step 5 is taken immediately after completing Step 4 and involves reading the written inventory to another human being, not necessarily your sponsor. The fifth step is an effort to see clearly what it is about yourself that you need to change.2
Step 5 meeting topics:2
Step 6: We Were Entirely Ready to Have God Remove All These Defects of Character
This step addresses the issue of your readiness to have removed the defects of character that were identified in Step 4 and that were admitted to God, to yourself, and another human being in Step 5.2
Step 6 meeting topics:2
- Character defects
Step 7: We Humbly Asked Him to Remove Our Shortcomings
This step asks your Higher Power to remove the defects of character identified in Steps 4, 5, and 6. Your Higher Power, not you, determines how and when these defects will be removed.2
Step 7 meeting topics:2
- Exploring shortcomings
- Cultivating good moral character
Step 8: We Made a List of All Persons We Had Harmed and Became Willing to Make Amends to Them All
This step is concerned with your relationships and requires listing all persons you may have potentially harmed during your active addiction. This step is the basis for developing a more productive and satisfactory way of relating to others.2
Step 8 meeting topics:2
Step 9: We Made Direct Amends to Such People Wherever Possible, Except When to Do So Would Injure Them or Others
This step is essentially the second part of Step 8, where you make amends to each person on your Step 8 list. Before making each amend, you will determine the best method of doing so per your sponsor’s suggestion.2
Step 9 meeting topics:2
- The amends process
- Living your amends
Step 10: We Continued to Take Personal Inventory and When We Were Wrong Promptly Admitted It
This step is a continuation of Step 4, where you monitor resentments throughout the day, taking prompt corrective action as needed to keep the slate clean, character defects in check, and negative emotions at bay. Step 10 means adopting a way of life that requires continuous effort.2
Step 10 meeting topics:2
- Daily inventory
Step 11: We Sought Through Prayer and Meditation to Improve Our Conscious Contact with God As We Understood Him, Praying Only For Knowledge of His Will for Us and the Power to Carry That Out
This step involves two key components: prayer and meditation. Step 11 increases self-introspection through connecting with your Higher Power. This step enhances your spiritual life and helps you understand and carry out God’s will.2
Step 11 meeting topics:2
Step 12: Having Had a Spiritual Awakening as a Result of These Steps, We Tried to Carry This Message to Addicts, and to Practice These Principles in All Our Affairs
This step is a cornerstone of the 12-Step program and involves being of service to other struggling individuals. NA members seek to help others, the backbone of recovery. Some NA service efforts include sponsorship, commitments, sharing, and helping others.2
Step 12 meeting topics:2
- Giving back
The 12 Steps are positive tools that help make recovery possible.2 Generally, a member will look for a sponsor with whom they feel comfortable being rigorously honest. Twelve-Step work involves writing assignments, taking inventory, making lists of persons/places harmed, and making direct amends. Steps 10, 11, and 12, also known as the maintenance steps, are practiced daily. You can work through the 12 Steps of NA at your own pace or as negotiated between you and your sponsor.
How Effective Is NA?
Twelve-Step programs like NA, during and after treatment, are a cost-effective and useful approach to promoting recovery from drugs and other substances.1 Based on a survey conducted in 2015, the average length of continuous clean time in NA is 8.32 years.3 Research shows that attending three or more NA meetings per week is associated with complete abstinence and optimal outcomes.4,5,6
Twelve-Step involvement produces more benefits than meeting involvement, indicating a strong link between reading 12-Step literature, working the steps, interacting with a sponsor, sponsoring others, service commitments, and overall abstinence rates.4,5
How to Find an NA Meeting Near You
Twelve-Step fellowships like Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) are the most widely accessible recovery programs in the U.S., with 12-Step meetings becoming a cost-effective and popular approach to sustaining recovery from substance use.1 NA meetings can be found worldwide and now, even online. Virtual NA meetings are a great resource for those living in a rural area or those without transportation to and from NA meetings. Similar to in-person meetings, online NA recovery group interaction could help cope with cravings, triggers, self-agency, and motivation through new ideas, access to an active recovery network, and peer-driven learning.7
If you are looking for an NA meeting near you, you can visit our NA directory, which provides detailed information by state on meetings, the NA fellowship, and other recovery-related information. While NA can be an extremely beneficial form of ongoing support, it is not a substitute for formal addiction treatment. Rehab programs provide you with services like individual therapy and group counseling, facilitated by substance abuse professionals, to help you abstain from drugs in the long run. Call our helpline at 800-407-7195(Who Answers?) to find a rehab in your area.
- Laudet, A., Morgan, K., & White, W. (2006). The role of social supports, spirituality, religiousness, life meaning and affiliations with 12-step fellowships in quality of life satisfaction among individuals in recovery from alcohol and drug problems. Alcohol Treatment Quarterly, 24(1-2): 33-73.
- Narcotics Anonymous World Services, Inc. (2008). Narcotics Anonymous. World Services Organization.
- NA World Services, Inc. (2016). Information about NA.
- Krentzman, A., Robinson, E., Moore, B., Kelly, J., Laudet, A., White, W., Zemore, S., Kurtz, E., & Strobbe, S. (2010). How Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) work: Cross disciplinary perspectives. Alcohol Treatment Quarterly, 29(1): 75-84.
- Moos, R., & Timko, C. (2008). Outcome research on 12-step and other self-help programs. Textbook of Substance Abuse Treatment. (4th pp. 511-521).
- Witbrodt, J., & Kaskutas, L. (2005). Does Diagnosis Matter? Differential effects of 12-step participation and social networks on abstinence. The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, (31), 685-707.
- Bergman, B. G., Kelly, J. F., Fava, M., & Eden Evins, A. (2021). Online recovery support meetings can help mitigate the public health consequences of COVID-19 for individuals with substance use disorder. Addictive Behaviors, 113, 106661.
- Verified.org. (2021). Verified.org. What’s Real. What’s Not.